There are a number of “pirated” Uber accounts floating around social media, but apps like Beat and Didi are not immune, either.
For Uber Mexico, only about 12% of those who apply are accepted as drivers. Documents like INE and valid driver’s licenses are required to become an Uber driver. In addition, a face-to-face psychometric examination is carried out. However, on Facebook there is a murky black market for driver accounts.
The minimum requirements to drive for Uber include psychometric examination, various identity documents, a thorough investigation, and vehicle specifications that must be met. In addition to this, drivers who achieve it can be unsubscribed at any time for inappropriate behavior.
So far, the app is a safe means of transport. The problem is born in the black market that surrounds the driver's accounts. In various Facebook groups, you can find people, mostly with clearly false profiles, offering these accounts ‘ready to use’.
Who purchases these accounts? Those who do not pass the company's certification. Or those who for some murky reason, do not want to identify with the app and customers.
The prices of the accounts in question vary considerably: Some range from 3,000 Mexican pesos to 150,000 pesos (approximately US$135.94 to US$6796.95, respectively). This depends mostly on the rating of the account and also on what type it is since there are two categories: driver and partner. A partner is one who registers his own car and a driver is someone who drives a car that is not theirs.
There are pages and profiles on social media networks that are expressly dedicated to this. Even the same certified drivers who work honestly and legally know these practices.
‘Sergio N.’, a driver was interviewed and asked if he was aware of the black market accounts. He said:
“They sell Uber accounts because applying to drive for Uber is neither easy nor fast, you have to go to an office or upload your documents online, you do a psychological and psychometric exam, and if you do not pass one of those, you are not accepted as a driver. If you do not pass, they still hold those documents you submitted when applying.”
Uber Mexico reiterated that they choose their drivers with the help of rigorous exams and background and personality checks. They also take measures to prevent these ‘pirate’ accounts sold on the black market.
Even after the activation process, Uber Mexico conducts periodic reviews of the security verification of people already registered as lead partners. This includes processes such as facial recognition technology, feedback from users, updating documents, and the periodic application of its security filters.
This technology requires drivers to take a photo at random, and with facial recognition, must match existing records. This process protects legitimate accounts to prevent anyone else from handling on the driver’s behalf.
These security measures help siphon out the black market accounts from legitimate accounts. That is, black market accounts are identified and closed. The closing process is not immediate. Therefore, the company advises users to always check that the car, license plates, and driver coincide with the information that the app is showing, among other security measures.
Uber encourages its users to ensure that all requested trips are initiated and finalized using the Uber app. If a driver-partner offers the trip outside the application, it is recommended not to accept it and make the corresponding report through the support option within the application.
Uber has a team dedicated to detecting fraudulent behavior. Based on this, driving-partner accounts that do not comply with the quality requirements and the Terms and Conditions of the service are deactivated. Likewise, Uber reiterates its willingness to provide the competent authorities with the information they may require to support their investigations.
Finally, Uber invites all users to always make sure that the vehicle they are boarding is the same indicated in the app (license plates, model, and color), as well as the identity of the driver.
And in the end, that is the only thing that users of the app can do to protect themselves: verify that everything matches the data they are given; besides not accepting trips "outside". And it never hurts to share the location in real-time as well as tracking the trip with a contact, family member, or friend. You have to be always alert.